It’s been over two decades since the Mortal Kombat mythology was explored in a cinematic setting, but that dry spell finally ends next month. We got our first in-depth look at what the Mortal Kombat reboot has in store from the trailer released in February, and among the many characters shown off in the preview was Shang Tsung, played by The Dark Knight actor Chin Han. But in case that brief glimpse of Shang Tsung wasn’t enough to tide you over until Mortal Kombat’s release, not to worry, as a new picture highlighting the antagonist has made its way online.
Shang Tsung has been part of the Mortal Kombat franchise since the first video game came out in 1992, and he was played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa in the first Mortal Kombat movie. So it’s only appropriate that he get to take part in the extremely bloody reboot too, and you can see Chin Han’s version in all his glory below, courtesy of Total Film:
For those unfamiliar with Mortal Kombat lore, Shang Tsung is a shapeshifting warlock who steals the souls of those he defeats in combat to maintain his youth. He served as the tournament grandmaster and final boss of the original Mortal Kombat video game, but starting with Mortal Kombat II, he’s primarily been depicted as the right-hand man of the warlord Shao Kahn. Shang is also well known for his feud with Liu Kang, who’s being played in the reboot by Power Rangers’ Ludi Lin.
There was no description provided about what Shang Tsung is doing in the above picture, although the pose suggests he might generating some kind of energy. Maybe he’s getting ready to do some soul-sucking to maintain that vitality. Regardless, just like in the first Mortal Kombat game, Shang will have a key role in this latest film adaptation, as he’s the one who sends Joe Taslim’s Sub-Zero to attack Lewis Tan’s Cole Young, an original character created for the movie.
Warner Bros has also described Chin Han’s Shang Tsung as being the Emperor of the mystical realm known as Outworld. This position usually belonging to Shao Kahn, so it’s unclear if this means he’ll take over after Shang is defeated, or if Shang is merely a puppet leader while Shao rules from the shadows. Either way, fingers crossed we actually get to see Shang Tsung fight in Mortal Kombat rather than let his minions do all the dirty work.
Other Mortal Kombat characters you can look forward to seeing in the reboot include Jessica McNamee’s Sonya Blade, Josh Lawson’s Kano, Tadanobu Asano’s Raiden, Mehcad Brooks’ Jax and Hiroyuki Sanada’s Scorpion, among others. We’ll have to wait and see if Shao Kahn is revealed as the one pulling Shang Tsung’s strings in this world; perhaps his big entrance is being saved for a sequel. Behind the cameras, Simon McQuoid directed the reboot off a script written by Greg Russo and David Callaham.
You’ll get to see Mortal Kombat unfold, fatalities and all, when it premieres in theaters and on HBO Max April 16. If you’re not already signed up for the streaming service, you’re welcome to rectify that with this link, or you can learn what other movies come out this year with our 2021 release schedule.